Judith Butler Can’t “Take Credit or Blame” for Gender Furor

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Long before gender theory became a principal target of the right, it existed principally in academic circles. And one of the leading thinkers in the field was the philosopher Judith Butler, who popularized ideas about gender as a social construct, a “performance,” that proved highly influential for a younger generation. And Butler also became the target of traditionalists who abhorred those ideas. A protest at which Butler was burned in effigy, depicted as a witch, inspired their new book, “Who’s Afraid of Gender?” Butler speaks with David Remnick about the backlash; they also discuss Butler’s identification as nonbinary after many years of identifying as a woman. “The young people gave me the ‘they,’ ” as Butler puts it. “This generation has come along with the idea of being nonbinary. [It] never occurred to me! Then I thought, Of course I am. What else would I be?” Also this week, the journalist Erin Reed talks about the escalating legal assault on trans rights that’s sweeping the U.S. “We are at around five hundred [anti-trans bills] as of this morning. And last year we had five hundred and fifty the entire year.” Meanwhile, our staff writer Louisa Thomas talks March Madness: why men’s college basketball suffers a state of malaise, while the women’s game is electrifying.

The Anti-trans Backlash Is Accelerating in 2024

Already this year, almost five hundred bills restricting trans rights have been introduced across the country, according to Erin Reed, who is tracking all of them.


Judith Butler Can’t “Take Credit or Blame” for Gender Furor

The philosopher popularized new ideas about gender—and has been burned in effigy for it. They talk with David Remnick about “Who’s Afraid of Gender?,” their new book on the backlash.


March Madness 2024: College Basketball at a Crossroads

The staff writer Louisa Thomas talks with the former sportswriter David Remnick about why men’s college basketball suffers a state of malaise, while the women’s game is electrifying.


The New Yorker Radio Hour is a co-production of WNYC Studios and The New Yorker.

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